Pictured from left to right: Cooper Legas, Peyton Manning, Adam Legas. Image courtesy of Nanohydr8
There are plenty of misconceptions about being a great leader. For a start, many feel that a great leader is an effective manager. This isn’t always the case. The reality is that the leader doesn’t need to be the smartest or even the most talented person in a group. Effective leadership is about more than just being a good manager.
The Myths of Leadership
I talked with Adam Legas, CEO of pre-workout supplement company Nanohydr8 about some of the most common myths and misconceptions about leadership, as well as the reality of the situation. He told me the following:
- It’s possible to train a great leader
Knowledge is certainly a valuable part of being a leader, but the most important aspect of being a leader is attitude; which can’t be trained.
- Leaders give orders
There are times when a leader may need to give orders, but it’s not the be-all-end-all of leadership. Being a great leader means being able to inspire action.
- Leaders know everything
It may seem like the best leaders in the world have all the answers, but the reality is that a leader never stops learning and gaining new knowledge.
- Leaders never fail
Achieving success without failing at any point is simply impossible. A good leader is forged by failure and uses their knowledge to create success.
- Leaders work alone
Leaders can sometimes feel like lone wolves, but they do prefer to work with others.
Leadership has nothing to do at all with being a dictator or posturing.
So What is True Leadership?
A great definition of true leadership was provided by John Quincy Adams; who described a great leader as someone who is able to inspire others to dream, do, learn, and be more than they are.
Every great leader – whether they work in business, politics, or a social cause, have their own definitive vision. They are able to inspire those around them to share their vision and work for it together.
Great leaders embody the traits of:
- Encouraging creativity
- Promoting values
- Offering guidance
- Building morals
- Fostering initiative
How to Become a Great Leader
While it might be difficult to emulate the best leaders in the world, there are some things you can do to improve your leadership abilities. Here they are:
- Treat Staff Like You Want Them to Treat Customers
Do you expect your staff to be courteous and friendly towards your customers? If so, then you should be that way with your staff. Treat your staff like customers and it will motivate and inspire the members of your team, and even other teams.
- Practice Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you want to be a great leader, you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone. If you aren’t comfortable speaking in pubic or networking for example, then strengthen your skills in those areas. You can even bring in a mentor or coach to help you, rather than learning on the job.
- Keep Up With Industry Trends
It seems like the modern world never stops changing. No matter what industry or niche you work in, you can expect updates and innovations to happen every single day. A leader must stay on top of these trends. Avoid being constantly attached the news however, and focus on learning the latest trends.
- Grow Your Team and Grow Yourself
Take a minute to think about your own personal growth; has it improved things for your team? Of course it has. This can be taken to the next level by ensuring that staff are afforded plenty of opportunities to train and develop their skills. One suggestion we have is taking the team to an industry conference, letting them be inspired by – and learn from – some of the best in the business. Everyone wins in this situation as everyone gains useful skills and knowledge, and you’ll be fostering team spirit.
- Keep Promises
Not delivering on your promises is the fastest way to destroy your credibility; such as failing to deliver promised financial bonuses to your team. Successful leaders are those who always keep their promises. It can take some integrity and discipline to do this, but it’s worth it in the long run.
- Set Inspiring Goals
An outstanding leader is one that is able to set goals and work towards them. It could be a financial goal, getting a set amount of subscriber numbers, or it could be targets for customer satisfaction. The goal can be small or big, short term or long term. What matters is that you have them and want to be successful. If your staff understand your goals then it will make it easier to inspire them to help you reach those goals.
- Get Honest Feedback
It might not be easy to listen to honest feedback, but it can be the difference between being mediocre and achieving excellence. Instead of waiting for people to give you feedback, you should ask staff and customers for honest feedback about your leadership skills and style. Consider asking them if they have suggestions on things you could do to become a better leader. Never forget that a great leader isn’t afraid to deal with criticism. They consider it a chance to learn and improve themselves.
Even if you aren’t a natural born leader you can improve your leadership abilities with these suggestions.